As the Akron Aeros continue to struggle and have only won four of their last 13 games, there have been some bright spots in terms of their core players. Carlos Santana and Nick Weglarz each had two-home run games in the past week, as did 1B Beau Mills, the Indians 2007 first round draft pick out of Lewis & Clark State. The native of Visalia, CA came into the season as one of the most highly touted prospects in the organization, being rated by Baseball America as the no. 3-man in the system, while Tony Lastoria over at Indians Prospect Insider tabbed him as #8. He is currently riding a six-game hitting streak, went 3-3 in a loss last night at Reading, and has built his batting average up to .265 on the season.
Last year, he struggled early on in his first full season of professional baseball with Class A Kinston. He batted .222 (20-90) with a meager OPS of .714 in the month of April, and as late in the year as June 5th his batting average was only .250. He turned it around just near the All-Star break, as he batted .333 (36-108) in July with 23 RBI, and then proceeded to hit .329 (27-82) in the month of August to go along with a stellar on-base percentage of .409. He had the second-longest hitting streak of any member of the K-Tribe in 2008 with a 15-gamer which he started on July 7th, and also committed only 9 errors the entire season despite playing a combined 108 games at first and third base.
His final numbers for the 2008 season ended up at .293 with 21 home runs and 90 RBI as he was named the Carolina League MVP and honored as the recipient of the Lou Boudreau Award, recognizing the best minor league position player among the Cleveland farm system. He was named as the best defensive first baseman by Baseball America in the CL as well, as he led the league with a .992 fielding percentage.
He started off the 2009 season much like he did in 2008. The 22-year-old left-handed batter had his good days and his bad days, but hit only .266 in April (21-79) followed by .234 (25-207) in May. Much like last year as well, however, it looks like he is finally starting to turn it around. He has to be up on the list for the 1B of the future in the organization, and he is starting to earn up to his first-round status yet again.
Over the current six game road trip, the 6-3, 205 pound slugger has hit safely every single time, and is batting batting .423 (11-26) with two home runs, two doubles, six runs scored and four RBI. He now leads the team with 17 multi-hit performances, including his 4th three-hit game of the season last night. In addition, he leads the team with 50 games played, 200 at bats, is tied for the lead with 12 doubles, while he ranks second with 53 hits. His batting average has now crept up to .265 for the season, to go along with four home runs and 19 RBI.
While the Aeros are having trouble winning games over the past few weeks, Mills has proven that he can be relied upon for some big-time games, and is showing why he is one of the top prospects in the organization.